When Catalan nationalists talk about legal issues they delight the world with truly hilarious moments. Well-known activist Carles Boix -unaware of the double sense of the word "Jura"- has claimed that "the situation is similar to the case of the French Jura, which wanted to become independent from the Canton of Bern in 1977. Althought the Constitution did not foresee this possibility, the will of the Jura prevailed and this Canton joined the Swiss confederation two years later."
First of all, if you speak of French Jura it's the Département Jura in France that comes to mind. But indeed, the French-speaking Swiss Jura did split away from Canton Bern, or part of it at least. Secondly, this was made possible by changing the Swiss Constitution, for which a referendum was held in the whole country. This is precisely what Catalan separatist do not envisage for their own case, refusing calls to separate legally by, in a first step, changing the Spanish Constitution, for which also a referendum in the whole of Spain would be necessary. This might turn out to be impossible, but they don't even want to try. Their slogan is "we're in a hurry", clearly trying to ride the wave of discontent and even despair created by the economic crisis.
However, Mr Boix sees the Jura as analogous not to Catalonia's position in Spain, but to its relations with the EU. His argument is that Catalonia should stay in the EU through an option of "internal enlargement". He does not consider that EU law is, obviously, different to Swiss law. What is more, the arrogance he displays is breathtaking. The article ends with "let's go our own way calmly [...] and then [...] we will negotiate the terms under which we want to stay in Europe." Good luck with that!
Ignorance and arrogance, an explosive mix. The next example of it comes from Alfred Bosch, member of the Spanish parliament for separatists ERC, a position he gained after co-heading the faux referendum. Here's a Twitter exchange about the recent Declaration of Sovereignty of the Catalan parliament:
In this last tweet Mr Bosch linked to the ICCPR I had mentioned before, albeit he does so to its Spanish version, which speaks of "el derecho de libre determinación", which in turn Mr Bosch translated back into English as "free determination", calling this "the exact wording".
I linked to the English version, and then, to sum up all his shortcomings, I shot three more tweets at him, the first two pointing out that he got the Declaration of Sovereignty wrong, and that the right of self-determination does not apply to the Catalan case.
The third of those tweets led to the end of our debate:
Case number three: How can we expect a politician to know anything if professionals don't know their own field! Cue a "legal analysis" of the Committee for the Defence of People's rights and the Free Legal Practice of the Barcelona Bar Association. An English version has been provided by Helpcatalonia. But I will do the translation myself of one crucial part:
"The same [Montevideo] Convention establishes that the political existence of a state is independent of recognition by the other states. This principle, known as constitutive theory of the state..."
Wrong! The constitutive theory of statehood is precisely what the Montevideo Convention is not about. It is about the declarative theory of statehood. Here is the English Wiki, and here is the Catalan one. Both coincide here, obviously. "Article 3 of the Montevideo Convention declares that statehood is independent of recognition by other states. In contrast, recognition is considered a requirement for statehood by the constitutive theory of statehood."
It could not be more hilarious: the whole argumentation of this paper rests on this point.
Way to go, lawyers. Who is going to take you seriously anymore?
Case number four: this one takes arrogance and idiocy to a whole new level. Yes, it's still possible. Here is an extract of the TV3 program Singulars, from January 30. If an independent Catalonia cannot stay in the EU, let's call the Chinese navy. Says Jordi Molins.
Enjoy the video, no further comment is necessary.
Update: Doubts are still being groomed by Catalan separatists about the position of an independent Catalonia re the EU. Compare that to reality.
"If part of the territory of a Member State would cease to be part of that state because it were to become a new independent state, the Treaties would no longer apply to that territory. In other words, a new independent state would, by the fact of its independence, become a third country with respect to the EU and the Treaties would no longer apply on its territory."
(The Scotsman, December 10, 2012)